Lakers’ Jeanie Buss on Nets’ recent roster upgrades: ‘Bring it on’
The Brooklyn Nets are winning the NBA arms race by continuing to acquire high-end talent, and Los Angeles Lakers CEO and governor Jeanie Buss believes the developments presently occurring in the Eastern Conference on that front only makes the NBA a better and more compelling product.
The Nets have brought in both Blake Griffin and LaMarcus Aldridge after the two stars negotiated buyouts with the Detroit Pistons and San Antonio Spurs, respectively.
Already boasting the Big Three of Kevin Durant, James Harden and Kyrie Irving, the Nets without question were already positioned to challenge the Lakers as the team aspires to win back-to-back titles. Adding Griffin and Aldridge obviously makes the Nets that much more of a formidable NBA Finals front-runner, joining the Philadelphia 76ers and Milwaukee Bucks in the East and the Utah Jazz, Phoenix Suns and Los Angeles Clippers in the West.
Buss made it clear that the Lakers welcome the challenges presented, specifically as it relates to Brooklyn’s recent roster upgrades.
“It brings out the best in us,” Buss said Monday on “Stephen A’s World” on ESPN+, per Royce Young of ESPN. “When teams identify us as the team to beat and they gear up to go at us head-to-head, that makes us work harder.
“So, bring it on.”
The Lakers recently received an upgrade of their own courtesy of the NBA’s buyout market. Former Cavaliers star Andre Drummond is set to join L.A. after negotiating his way out of Cleveland.
“Drummond … will certainly fortify a season where we’ve had to deal with injuries and COVID,” Buss said. “Having Marc Gasol, who is our starting center, was out for several weeks with COVID and a really tough case where he was on a minutes restriction even though he’s back in the lineup.”
The Lakers of course are facing some serious issues of their own heading into the end-of-the-season stretch. Injuries have decimated the Lakers’ lineup, headlined obviously by the ongoing absences of LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
Davis was recently cleared to resume on-court activities, but he hasn’t played since Feb. 14 due to a calf strain and tendinosis in his right leg. Lakers head coach Frank Vogel recently made it clear, however, that Davis is “still a ways away” from returning.
James, meanwhile, suffered a high-ankle sprain on March 20 in a loss to the Atlanta Hawks. The superstar is expected to be sidelined between three to five weeks as he recovers.
There will be some time for Drummond to get acclimated to playing alongside James and Davis ahead of the postseason, but the Lakers (30-17, No. 4 in the West) will have to somehow tread water until the two superstars return to the lineup.